Sabine Gruber, the daughter of German-speaking parents, was born in 1963 in Meran, South Tyrol and grew up in Lana. She published her first literary texts while still studying German literature, history and political science in Vienna and Innsbruck. The author’s multifaceted oeuvre, which has won many prizes, now comprises several novels, volumes of poetry, audio dramas, and plays, as well as essays, literary reviews and scholarly articles in newspapers and anthologies. From 1988 to 1992 Gruber was a lecturer at Ca’ Foscari University in Venice, but then settled in Vienna and devoted herself entirely to writing.
In her debut novel, »Aushäusige« (1996; tr. Absconders), the story of the siblings Rita and Anton, who leave their home in South Tyrol in search of new horizons, Gruber develops her skillful play with various perspectives – a characteristic feature of all of her works. Here she overlaps the voices of the sister, who runs off to Venice and suffers disappointment in her love for a fish monger, and the brother, who works as a journalist in Vienna, while in her next novel »Die Zumutung« (2003, tr. The imposition) she interweaves the reality and imaginary world of a single figure. Using poetic, subtly ironic language she portrays the art historian Marianne, who confronts her severe kidney failure with a defiant lust for life. The important role of coincidence on the one hand, and the longing for vitality and love on the other, which inform the author’s work, are revealed in her third novel »Über Nacht« (2007; tr. Over night), which was nominated for the German Book Prize. Here again, two destinies merge, whose courses initially seem unrelated. Irma, a dialysis patient in Vienna, and Mira, an elderly care nurse in Rome, mirror one another in more than just name. Their biographies become intertwined to the point that the Mira’s first-person narrative dissolves into that of Irma. In »Stillbach oder die Sehnsucht« (2011; tr. Stillbach, or the longing) Gruber carefully examines the relationship between Italy and South Tyrol and her homeland’s past. A stage production of the novel premiered at the Stadttheater Bozen in 2015. Her latest novel »Daldossi oder das Leben des Augenblicks« (2016; tr. Daldossi, or living in the moment) is about a successful photographer who shoots images of crisis areas. Faced with his own loss of a love, he increasingly wonders what role he as a reporter has to play regarding the world’s suffering.
In addition to numerous scholarships, such as the Heinrich-Heine-Stipendium (2002), Elias-Canetti-Stipendium (2004/05) and Robert-Musil-Stipendium (2009–2011), the author has been awarded important prizes, including recently the Veza Canetti Award of the City of Vienna (2015) and the Österreichischen Kunstpreis für Literatur (2016). Sabine Gruber lives in Vienna.